More than 3 weeks ago, the SKWAWKBOX covered Hilary Benn’s abject embarrassment as his CLP (constituency Labour Party) elected a clean sweep of pro-Corbyn members to its ‘officer’ positions at its AGM – and warned that it wouldn’t be long before smears started to emerge similar to the completely-unfounded (and in at least one case, already proven false) allegations against Wallasey and Brighton-Hove CLPs, in order to discredit the democratic results and protect Benn.
With all of Rupert Murdoch’s money behind it, it only took the Times almost another month to catch up on what this (unmoneyed, but feel free to donate if you wish!) blog covered weeks ago – and then to get it wrong, even to the point of slander:
The article (I won’t drive traffic to the rag by linking to it, but you can easily find it if you’re so inclined) gets it wrong – intentionally – on a number of counts:
- Nobody ‘seized’ the seat. A scheduled election was held – and won by the candidates with the most support. Otherwise known as democracy.
- There are no ‘hard-left activists’, as the rag terms them. The vote was by ordinary CLP members.
- ‘Vengeful’ has nothing to do with it. If we elect people and then don’t like what they do, we can vote them out. Again, that’s just democracy.
- It treats Richard Angell, of right-wing faction Progress, as a reliable source. Angell, laughably, calls the architect of the failed, anti-democratic ‘chicken coup’ “a brilliant MP” and the attempt to deselect him (which hasn’t happened yet) “a disgrace”. Ho hum.
The attempt, predicted by the SKWAWKBOX, to smear the CLP has begun, as the language of ‘hard left’, ‘vengeful’ etc is clearly pejorative and appears intended to set the scene for accusations against Leeds Central members.
The Times goes further, attempting to ‘damn by association’ the CLP by referring to the supposed abuse at
But it’s in this last move that the paper makes a – presumably unplanned – mistake that may prove costly:
Only officers of a CLP can be ‘removed from their posts’ – because they’re the only ones in ‘posts’.
The NEC’s report into events at Wallasey is full of holes, but even it does not attempt to attribute any abuse to the officers of the CLP – and indeed the SKWAWKBOX understands that they were never accused. The fact that the report attempts to state that the supposed ‘abuse’ was heard by some and not by others specifically excludes the officers, all of whom would be at the front of the meeting, with any ‘abuse’ uttered therefore unmissable by all present. The fact that the report also offers further ‘support’ to those officers nails the case shut.
By focusing false allegations on specific people, the Times has opened itself to action for defamation and we understand that the officers in question are likely to be of a similar mind.